Strap in pets and keep them cool in the car

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published May 21, 2015

 It’s important to have a dog properly weighed and sized so that it may be fitted into the correct type of harness

It’s important to have a dog properly weighed and sized so that it may be fitted into the correct type of harness

Furry friends who are going for a ride need to stay cool and buckled up just like other passengers, according to pet safety advocates.

Michigan Humane Society spokesman Ryan McTigue said the No. 1 thing that pet owners need to remember as the weather starts getting hot is to not take their animals with them on unnecessary trips.

“The best thing to do is leave them at home where they’re safe,” he said. “Temperatures can climb really high (in a car) even on a relatively cool day, even if you crack the window.”

McTigue explained that pets such as dogs cool themselves down through panting, which means that they can quickly overheat if the environment around them is hot and stuffy. Heatstroke may occur in a matter of minutes to a pet left in a hot car, he warned.

Besides hot temperatures, pet owners need to also secure their pets inside the vehicle to protect them in case of bumpy travel or accidents.

McTigue said animal carriers should be used for cats and smaller animals, and he recommended taking the seat belt and threading it through the carrier’s handle before buckling the strap. This will prevent the carrier from sliding around while making turns, he said.

Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply in Beverly Hills, said pet harnesses are popular among shoppers and are also highly recommended.

Palmer said a harness, which can click in like a seat belt for medium- or larger-sized dogs, is essential because it fits in around the dog’s chest, where it is safer to withstand any tug or pull that a sudden stop may cause.

He said while a lot of people drive with their dogs on their laps, that can be a dangerous distraction.

“A dog loose in the car is a danger not only to the pet but the driver,” he said.  “That 10-pound dog, propelled, could injure someone severely, and the dog itself could die.”

Palmer said it’s important to have a dog properly weighed and sized so that it may be fitted into the correct type of harness. He said his store offers free sizing as a service.

An owner of a smaller dog may buy a booster seat that elevates the dog while securing it. This also allows the smaller dog to look out the window better, he said.

Airbags should not be active while the dog is in the front seat since they can crush the animal if deployed, he said.

Learn more about the Michigan Humane Society by visiting www.michiganhumane.org or by calling (248) 283-1000. Find out more about Premier Pet Supply, 31215 Southfield Road in Beverly Hills, by visiting www.premierpetsupply.com or by calling (248) 647-4310.